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Around Ireland Breaking the mold

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Maria O’Brien Cambell is a political record breaker.

For the second time in her political career, the Drogheda councilor entered the history book, this time by becoming the area’s first female mayor in more than 804 years, breaking the area’s male-dominated political stranglehold, according to the region’s newspaper, the Drogheda Independent.

Cambell had previously been the first woman to contest the Louth area in a general election.

The victory was sweet, but also marked by a controversial opponent. Betty Bell, another hopeful first-time female mayor, described Cambell’s appointment as a mockery of democracy and threatened to quit politics in an emotional outburst.

The decision came after members of the council worked out a voting pact among Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and independents to vote Cambell through to her new position. It was a tight race, with Cambell just squeezing past for nomination over two other potentials, both men.

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The new mayor promised to do her best about the region’s employment issue and to try to attract development and investment to the area.

Holy flying cows

A farmer could not believe his eyes recently when a bullock that fell off a 100-foot cliff on his property into the sea was returned safe and sound after miraculously surviving the plunge unscathed.

The Kerryman newspaper reported that the lucky animal was one of two bullocks that slipped through a broken part of the fence on a cliff-top field owned the Causeway farmer. The body of one of the animals was found shortly afterward, with the second missing and presumed dead.

But the missing bullock swam 300 yards to the safety of a nearby cave, where it was spotted about 18 hours later by a boy out canoeing with friends. The alarm was raised and a daring sea rescue was mounted by three men – veterinary surgeon Tom Pierse, his brother Peter and neighbor Liam Leen.

“They rowed out in quite a high tide and attached a rope to the animal, and he swam after them. I didn’t want them to risk their lives for an animal, but they did it anyway,” Anne Leen told the newspaper.

Leen was amazed when the bullock walked calmly back onto the farm as if nothing had happened.

“He was in perfect condition, there wasn’t a bother on him,” she said. “He just walked up and started grazing like normal. This happened here about 50 years ago, but nobody has heard of anything like it since.”

The Leens are now repairing the fence, determined not to lose any more stock to the Atlantic waves.

Dumped but clean-shaven

The Ballybunion man who was dumped last week by the organizers of his local Bachelor of the Year festival has come up trumps after all.

Reports The Kerryman newspaper, Maurice Delaney, who was rejected as a contestant in the Ballybunion Bachelor contest after originally being told he had been selected, was given the movie star treatment recently after widespread media attention about his plight. Delaney was fitted out with a designer suit by Louis Copeland, given a free makeover by Wilkinson Sword and finished of his day at a sports-celebrity-packed party in Dublin.

National papers and radio had given Delaney so much attention that he was eventually invited by the Mirror tabloid newspaper for a makeover. At the event, he met up with boxer Steve Collins and billiard ace Ken Doherty.

Meanwhile, at the contest, the debate continued over whether the Ballybunion man was dropped because of his weight. And the traditional welcoming party for the bachelors was disrupted by protesters chanting “we want Maurice” and the shouting down a local radio DJ who was trying to introduce the 20 bachelors.

Derry man murdered in England

Police have opened a murder investigation following the death of a Derry man in Cambridgeshire, England. Alaistair Peoples, 32, of Drumahoe, was found unconscious outside a nightclub in St. Ives early on a recent Saturday morning and was rushed to Addenbrookes Hospital suffering from a severe head injury, according to the Belfast telegraph. He died soon after.

Cambridgeshire police confirmed today that a 31-year-old St. Ives man was being questioned about the incident.

The victim’s mother, Jean, said today she was heartbroken by the loss of her son, who was a long-distance truck driver with a Moy-based firm.

“I am absolutely devastated by Alaistair’s death,” she said. “I can’t believe after living here with all the troubles that he was killed in England.

“He was a gentle giant, he wouldn’t have hurt anyone, got on with his own business and had a lovely set of friends. Alaistair was on a ventilation machine to help him breathe but he passed away at midday.”

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